Affordable Housing:

This term is used to encompass both low cost market and subsidised housing (irrespective of tenure, ownership - whether exclusive or shared - or financial arrangements) that will be available to people who cannot afford to occupy houses generally available on the open market.

Area of Special Restraint:

An area of land within which no development will be permitted until such time as a review of the District Plan determines that the land is required for development.

Ancient Monument:

Nationally important archaeological sites designated by the Secretary of State for the Environment under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

Article 4 Direction:

A special power which the Council may exercise to control development in sensitive areas not normally subject to planning control (Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995).


Includes horticulture, fruit growing, seed growing, dairy farming, the breeding and keeping of livestock (including any creature kept for the production of food, wool, skins or fur, or for the purpose of its use in the farming of land), the use of land as grazing land, meadow land, osier land, market gardens and nursery grounds, and the use of land for woodlands where that use is ancillary to the farming of land for other agricultural purposes (as defined in Section 336 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990).

Agricultural Building:

Any building on agricultural land comprised in an agricultural unit reasonably necessary for the purposes of agriculture within that unit.

Agricultural Land:

Land in use for agriculture for the purpose of trade or business and excluding any dwelling house or garden.

Agricultural Unit:

Agricultural land which is occupied as a unit for the purpose of agriculture, including:

  1. any dwelling or other building on that land occupied for the purpose of farming the land by the same person as occupies the unit; or

  2. any dwelling on that land occupied by a farmworker.

Bad Neighbour Uses:

These are uses such as blood-boiling, abattoirs and car paint spraying. They are likely to produce noxious smells and generally unpleasant disturbance to adjacent uses/areas.

Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO):

Defined by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution as "the outcome of a systematic consultative and decision making procedure which emphasises the protection and conservation of the environment across land, air and water. The procedure establishes the option that provides the most benefits or the least damage to the environment, as a whole, at acceptable cost, in the long term as well as in the short term.


Biological diversity in an environment as indicated by the presence of numbers of different species of plants and animals.

Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP):

A framework for achieving the conservation of biodiversity based on the targeting of resources towards protecting priority habitats and species.

Brownfield Land:

(see Previously Developed Land)

Bridleway Network:

Means bridleways, byways, quiet roads, and tracks used by horse riders and other non-motorised modes.


(see Government Circulars)

Comparison Shopping/Floorspace:

Shopping involving the purchase of non-food goods, where the customer will compare the same products in different shops before purchasing e.g. clothes, footwear, electrical goods, furniture.

Community Forest:

National programme initiated by the Countryside Commission. The main aims of the Forest are to protect and improve the landscape, increase access, recreation and art opportunities, protect areas of and for nature conservation, provide educational opportunities and encourage timber production.

Commuted Sum:

This is a sum of money paid to a Local Authority by a developer (often under a Section 106 Agreement) to effect provision of facilities or improvement connected with a development. It is often found as a 'commuted sum for parking' - money paid by a developer to provide parking elsewhere, when parking connected with a development is inadequate.

Conservation Area:

An area of special architectural or historic interest defined by the Local Authority. It is an area deemed to be worthy of preservation or enhancement due to its special character or appearance (see S.69 and 70 of The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990).

Convenience Shopping/Floorspace:

Superstores, supermarkets and shops selling food, newspapers, confectionery and other similar goods for daily use.

Countryside Management Service:

This service seeks to find practical solutions to problems in the countryside. It enables organisations and groups to liaise and work towards a better management of the countryside and to promote the service aims of providing 'countryside for all'.

County Structure Plan:

Strategic plan prepared by Hertfordshire County Council showing the proposed future pattern of land use and broad planning policies for Hertfordshire. Each County is required by Central Government to prepare a Structure Plan.


The area of enclosed land associated with the use of a building, such as the garden of a house, but excluding any fields, paddocks, etc.


Unit of noise measurement which expresses the loudness in terms of decibel (dB) scale and the frequency rating factor (A).


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Development Brief:

(see Planning Brief)

Development Plan:

The development plan for an area consists of the approved Structure Plan, the Local (or District) Plan and any Minerals or Waste Plans which are in force for that area (see Section 54 Town and Country Planning Act 1990).

Estate Management Scheme:

The Estate Management Scheme which operates in Welwyn Garden City was taken over by Welwyn Hatfield Council in 1978, from the Commission for the New Towns. The scheme consists of a number of covenants and controls which exceed normal planning powers. This is to safeguard the detailed design and landscaping features found in Welwyn Garden City from even small alterations which might harm the overall character of an area.


European Union.

Examination in Public:

The public inquiry held to discuss representations made during public consultation on the Structure Plan. Only invited parties may speak at the EIP which is held before a panel of people chosen by the Secretary of State for the Environment.


The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. Statutory Document from Central Government giving rules and definitions regarding development of land for the Local Planning Authority.

General Industrial Development:

This is industrial and manufacturing development which broadly falls within Class B2 of the Use Classes Order.

Government Circulars:

Provide Central Government guidance on a wide range of planning issues to supplement the Town and Country Planning legislation (also see PPGs and PPSs).

Green Belt:

(sometimes known as the Metropolitan Green Belt) The area of open land and countryside around London which is designated as 'Green Belt' and which has a number of functions:

  • to restrict urban sprawl
  • to protect the countryside from development
  • to keep neighbouring settlements separate
  • to preserve historic towns
  • to help in the regeneration of urban areas.
Gross Floorspace:

The total floorspace of the building measured to the outside of all external walls including staircase, lobbies, porches and circulation space.


A term used in describing the location and characteristics of sites particular to different species of plants and animals.

Hectare (Ha):

A metric measurement of area equal to 2.47 acres.


(see Agriculture)

Housing Association:

Independent non-profitmaking organisations for managing building and renovating housing. Funded by Central Government through the Housing Corporation they can also receive funds from Local Authorities.

Leq (16 hour) dB(A):

Daytime index for aircraft noise, measured between the hours of 7am and 11pm.

Listed Building:

A building which has been identified by the Secretary of State for the Environment as being of special architectural or historic interest and is entered on the Listed Building Schedules under S.1 of The Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and as such are subject to special planning control. Listed Building Consent is required for alterations or demolitions. The buildings are classified in Grades to show their relative importance:

Grade IBuildings of exceptional interest (less than 5% of all Listed Buildings)
Grade II*Buildings of Special Interest and of Particular Importance
Grade IIBuildings of Special Interest.
Landscape Conservation Area:

An area which has been assessed as having significant scenic beauty to warrant particular measures to retain its character (broadly assessed and defined in the County Structure Plan).

Local Agenda 21:

Sustainable development strategy developed by and for the local community.

Local Housing Needs:

A term used to describe the range of housing requirements arising from the existing population including different types of ownership and house type.

Local Nature Reserve:

Under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (as amended), Local Authorities have powers to establish Local Nature Reserves in consultation with English Nature. Such reserves are intended to provide significant opportunities for public involvement in nature conservation at a small-scale local level.

Non-Conforming Use:

For the purpose of this Plan, a use which does not conform with surrounding land uses and is therefore not appropriate in its present location.


Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Permitted Development Rights:

These allow certain types of development to occur without needing planning permission. The types of development are described in the G.P.D.O.

Planning Brief:

A document designed to give planning guidance for a particular site; it may outline any desired uses which the Council feels are appropriate to the site's location e.g. elderly persons dwellings in the town centre.


Planning Policy Guidance notes produced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to provide guidance on planning policies in a simpler and more accessible form than Government circulars. Current PPGs are listed in Appendix 9.


Planning Policy Statement issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Current PPSs are listed in Appendix 7.

Previously Developed Land:

Land which is or was occupied by a permanent structure (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings), and associated fixed surface infrastructure. The definition covers the curtilage of the development. It may occur in both built-up and rural settings. It includes defence buildings and land used for mineral extraction and waste disposal, where provision for restoration has not been made through development control procedures. The definition excludes land and buildings currently in use for agriculture or forestry, and land in built-up areas which has not been developed previously (e.g. parks, recreation grounds and allotments - even though these areas may contain certain buildings). Also excluded is land that was previously developed but where the remains of any structure or activity have blended into the landscape and where there is a clear reason that could outweigh the re-use of the site (definition taken from Annex C to PPG3).

Private Finance Initiatives:

Also known as 'Public Private Partnerships' are a mechanism set up by Central Government to enable private sector capital to fund what were previously regarded as public sector responsibilities e.g. road building and hospitals.


Regional Planning Policy Guidance Notes produced by the ODPM to provide planning guidance at a regional level. This district is currently covered by RPG9 for the South East.

Section 106:

Legal agreement under planning law to secure elements of development that cannot be controlled by planning conditions.

Sequential Test:

A test to be applied in the selection of sites that directs new retail and leisure development to town centres where possible. First preference for sites should be the town centre, where suitable sites are available, followed by edge-of-centre sites, district and local centres, and only then by out-of-centre sites in locations that are, or can be made, accessible by a choice of means of transport. Edge-of-centre sites may be defined as those within walking distance (200-300 metres) of the main town centre shopping area. Out-of-centre sites are those which are clearly separate from the town centre itself, but which are not necessarily outside the urban area.


The London and South East Regional Planning Conference. An organisation dealing with strategic planning and transportation issues in the South East established in 1962.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs):

These are notified by English Nature under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). They comprise land of special interest because of its flora, fauna, geological or physiographical features, but not managed as a reserve.

Specified Settlements:

Settlements (i.e. towns and villages) which are excluded from the Green Belt.

Special Area of Conservation:

These are designated under the EC Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (the Habitats Directive) and are Nature Conservation Sites of European Importance.

Strategic Housing Requirements:

Number of new houses identified in the Structure Plan as being required to meet the district's contribution to general housing requirements in the county.

Strategic Road Network:

These are the important national and county through-routes of regional significance which link major centres of population. These include motorways, major trunk roads and some principal 'A' roads.

Sui Generis:

A legal term, used in planning law, to describe a use which falls outside of the defined uses in the Use Classes Order, and therefore does not qualify for the rights given to uses falling within those classes.

Use Classes:

Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, a statutory document defining different categories of use of land and buildings for planning purposes.

Vitality and Viability of Town/Local Centres:

Vitality is a measure of how busy a centre is. Viability is a measure of its economic health and its capacity to attract continuing investment.

Wildlife Site:

Local sites identified by locally-developed criteria which are the most important non-statutory sites for wildlife.

Windfall Housing Sites:

Unexpected sites which become available for new housing.

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